Mon, 10 Jan 2000

Moonlighting on motorbikes

PALU, Central Sulawesi: Dozens of state employees here have taken side jobs as motorcycle taxi drivers, locally known as ojek, to help survive the economic crisis.

One of the civil servants, Udin, 43, said dozens of employees had joined the ojek organization. The man, who works as a teacher in a state-run elementary school, said he had been working as a driver for the last two years.

"Each day, I earn around Rp 40,000 (US$6) or Rp 50,000 to help finance my family," Udin, who is also a student at one of the universities in Palu, said as quoted by Antara on Saturday.

He said he would keep the side job if economic conditions did not return to normal.

Many ojek drivers around the province's capital said they had made big profits on Idul Fitri, thanks to the scarcity of public transport during the holiday.

"In the last three days, many youngsters have chosen to use our services," Djony, 45, one of the drivers operating in Masomba market, said on Saturday.

Another driver, Safruddin, 51, concurred. "We have enjoyed a harvest in the last three days," he said, adding that he could earn up to Rp 100,000 per day. (04)